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Claims the city Lindsay misused Measure "R" money

Monday, August 08, 2011

A South Valley city is facing tough questions and a huge bill over what one group is calling misuse of tax payer money.

City officials from Lindsay were blindsided when the Tulare County Association of Governments held a press conference claiming the city misused Measure "R" money for a recent downtown revitalization project.

The Tulare County Association of Governments required the city of Lindsay to hire a forensic auditor by Friday but when TCAG and the forensic auditor could not come to an agreement on how the auditor's contract would be written, TCAG decided to hold a press conference on the issue.

Pete Vander Poel said, "Required documentation is either missing or incomplete on a $3.75 million Measure "R" project completed by the city of Lindsay."

The downtown beautification was paid for by Measure "R" -- a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2006 to improve transportation and roads in the county.

Correspondence between the agencies show Lindsay officials admitted there were some "questionable expenses" and said they would pay TCAG back for those expenses -- which add up to nearly $1-million.

Still, city officials don't feel it's fair and also cannot afford to pay TCAG back for the entire $3.75 million project.

"The scope of the project never changed," said Rich Wilkinson. "We submitted a $3.75 million project and we stayed within that $3.7 million budget.

TCAG announced it will file a lawsuit against the city of Lindsay on Tuesday -- to repay the entire cost of the project.

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Tags:
lindsay, tulare county, lawsuit, local, jessica peres
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